Mindset and Heart in Education Transformation – Manila Newsletter
Our second Christmas in the time of the coronavirus seems to be happier than last year. As the country heads into what appears to be a milder coronavirus scenario, schools are bracing for the possibility of resuming face-to-face learning in greater numbers, including for younger students.
Among the sectors preparing for a reopening scenario are colleges and universities (LCU) under the aegis of local governments. The Accreditation Council of the Association of Local Colleges and Universities (ALCUCOA) is holding its 13th national conference today on the theme: Transition and transformation in higher education: the post-pandemic scenario of LCUs.
As a resource speaker in this forum, I have chosen to focus on the concept of the Smart University. Broadly speaking, a smart university is one that “offers innovative ways of working, learning and teaching” among smart students, smart teachers, and smart administrators. Over five years ago, the Higher Education Commission (CHED) began providing budget support to state universities and colleges for the establishment of a smart university platform on their campuses. .
Earlier this year, CHED launched the Global Academic Leadership Program (GALP) in cooperation with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) to enable SUC presidents and senior administrators to boost their Smart University initiatives. It’s time for city-sponsored universities to take it to the next level as well. Local colleges and universities are also well positioned to transition and transform. Technology is the key factor.
One of the beneficial results of lockdown and quarantine is digital acceleration. Resistance to digital technology has been replaced by trust.
As mental barriers have been removed, adoption of technology-based educational methods is facilitated.
The use of Learning Management Systems (LMS) has provided faculty and students in higher education institutions with a ready-to-use platform for homework assignment and feedback on work completed while virtual classrooms have become the norm. Access to online learning resources has also increased learning outside of synchronous virtual classrooms.
Professionals in the medical and paramedical sciences were the first to switch to blended or hybrid learning, as vital skills could not be learned virtually and had to be learned in the field – through the actual use of machines and tools. – in a real setting. Their experience in the “new normal” guided the transition to face-to-face learning in other spheres.
In addition to face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) was used. Flexiglass barriers were initially installed in classrooms and laboratories; these were removed in later phases, as it was determined that an appropriate physical distance was sufficient.
Immunization of teachers and students also increased the level of confidence in the safe conduct of face-to-face learning.
Transition and transformation requires a shift in mindset from pandemic and crisis mode to a scenario of recovery and regeneration.
VUCA – which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity – has a reverse, VUCA Prime, which stands for Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Ability.
Behavior modification is vital for a change in mindset. Prolonged preoccupation with the disruptors of the pandemic leads to risk aversion and an inordinate fear of the unknown. Through self-reflection and brainstorming, one discerns the availability of resources – including people – who could initiate progress in new alternative directions.
Uncertainty breeds paralysis of analysis. Understanding the new realities requires the active engagement of all relevant stakeholders in dialogue and sharing of new knowledge drawn from the melting pot of the crisis experience. Administrators could call on teachers and students so that their collective talents can be pooled and harnessed in the massive task of rebuilding better normalcy.
Clarity is the answer to complexity. By focusing on the essentials, priorities could be established and energies directed towards actions that would produce the most impact.
Finally, agility trumps ambiguity. Self-doubt and collective reluctance should be replaced by an openness to new possibilities for growth. A bias for action, or what works, as opposed to endless imagination and speculation – tempered by a lucid assessment of opportunities and risks – is clearly the best way forward.
The VUCA Prime mindset must be complemented by a determined heart.
The state of mind is what we believe which, in turn, shapes what we perceive and how we see the world. The state of mind or the way of thinking also determines the ways of doing things. Heart Set is “your why which takes you in the direction of your deepest desires”.
Former Education Secretary Armin Luistro, FSC, explained the importance of attachment when speaking to parents and teachers who were struggling with the challenges of home learning during the pandemic:
“Parents and Teachers: Learning happens when there is trust and love. Trust your instincts. Trust your heart. Believe that you have the power within you to touch learners, turn fears into opportunities, rename and re-imagine our world. Children love and trust you. With love and confidence, you will never go wrong.
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